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We address the problem of how to reason about properties of knowledge transformations as they occur in distributed and decentralized interactions between large and complex artifacts, such as databases, web services, and ontologies. Based on the conceptual distinction between specifications of interactions and properties of knowledge transformations that follow from these interactions, we explore a novel mixture of process calculus and property inference by connecting interaction models with knowledge transformation rules. We aim at being generic in our exploration, hence our emphasis on abstract knowledge transformations, although we exemplify it using a lightweight specification language for interaction modeling (for which an executable peer-to-peer environment already exists) and provide a formal semantics for knowledge transformation rules using the theory of institutions. Consequently, our exploration is also an example of the gain obtained by linking current state-of-the-art distributed knowledge engineering based on web services and peer-based architectures with formal methods drawn from a long tradition in algebraic specification.